Monday, June 28, 2010

A little lighter on the heavy please

If you have known me any longer than 4.2 minutes, you know that I can err on the side of serious. My alter-ego is fun, spontaneous, adventurous, footloose and fancy free. The real me, notsomuch. While I long to channel my inner wild woman side, I am a homebody, a play-it-safer, a worrier. My mind is filled daily with  subjects such as war, illness, matters of faith, current tragic events. Don't you want to have lunch with me??  I have written on this topic years ago and clearly still struggle with it. A new career path could be a good start, evidenced by blogs of late, but I don't think that's the answer. I don't want it to be, anyway.

So this weekend was no different. I found myself in a hormone-induced funk, with a capital F. Starting Friday, I knew my heart was becoming more and more raw, more and more unpredictable and I was having less and less control. Miraculously, I was able to send husband out for a night of freedom with his best friend to spare him a night in with crazy wife. Saturday, still feeling the ick-ness, he was smart enough to stay home and babysit. His wife. But still, no major meltdown. In what I'm sure was incited by "How Great Thou Art" at St. Joseph's church, Sunday was THE day. The day for the meltdown. I dropped a couple tears in Mass but didn't let the deluge begin until we got home. The levies broke and my heart exploded into a mess of nothing comprehensible, nothing explainable, just a big bunch of ridiculous hormones (yes I'm blaming the kid). My husband tried. He sat my swimsuit, sunglasses and book on the sofa and tried to prod me to the pool, saying I could continue crying in the pool but needed to get outside. He may or may not have attempted to put swimsuit on my body but I was having none of that. Poor child gave up and began his yard work while I continued my unexplainable, incomprehensible tear fest. Eventually, I mustered the courage to sit on the stoop outside and continue my crying while he sat next to me. I healed pretty quickly in his sweaty arms, bemoaning the feeling of complete loss of control that these baby hormones induce. I apologized for being 'crazy wife' and looked up at him with ugly, crying eyes and pronounced "I think I'm done. I think it's over." Big girl panties pulled up, I started the day. Husband whispers thank you to God.

An hour later, I was loud and proud in my bikini and our across the street friends were at our house. At the great suggestion of a mom of six with a newborn, I indulged in a cocktail, lovingly made by desperate kind husband. As much as I never want to be the girl who can only let loose with liquid assistance, yesterday called for such measures. And everyone noticed. My husband smiled, offering me additional sips of his cocktail. (I will neither confirm nor deny acceptance of them). My friend said "I've missed this Keri the last 10 months." I laughed and played and swam and joked. I was footloose and fancy free. It was the most silly, pure fun I've had in months. It helped that I was around friends that necessitated no posturing at all (as evidenced by aforementioned bikini). Much to my pity for them, they have been privvy to plenty of ugly Ninness moments and still like us (or our pool?) I knew that if hormonal onslaught numero dos needed to hit, I was safe company. The point is, I finally, finally, let go and just chilled. the. heck. out. Thank you Ross. Thank you teeny tiny bit of Jose Cuervo. Thank you Karen and Zach. And Lord, they all thank you!

As Ross and I were putting the finishing touches on what turned out to be a great day at Captain D's (do NOT judge me. It was freaking amazing), I told him I was a little sad that everyone loooved me after a little teeny tiny bit of cocktail in my system. I said I wanted to be the fun girl without needing liquid help. He kind of shrugged. And I shrugged too. What's a 9.5 month, very large pregnant lady to do? I'll take the a dose of light wherever I can get it. We've got the heavy down pat. Not to worry- other than the first, ice cold sip of Ross's Pabst Blue Ribbon here and there, we will have no more cocktails for this babe. We'll just keep on taking doses of light wherever we can grab them!

And since I have no photos ever captured of me like this- the perfect picture of light and happy!


My precious cousin, A, showing me how's it's done!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You know you might be ready...

You know you might be ready to have a baby when...

  • the nurses at your hospital now all refer to you  as "big mama"
  • your mom calls 6 times a day (instead of 4) asking how her "babies" are
  • friends don't send your call to voicemail thinking it's baby time
  • your husband shakes his head every time he looks at your belly in disbelief that, yes, it got that big
  • your husband says "it's getting close!!" every morning on gchat
  • you cuss a lot more
  • the hospital bag has been packed and repacked, including one for husband so he has no excuse to run home and leave you alone with new creature
  • you know that by having hospital bags ready, you are adding 2 weeks of waiting
  • you are counting down the time in hours, not days, even though that's a whole lot of hours
  • you are trying every, every, every trick known to man to get labor started (well, minus eggplant parm- even thought Scalini's is 2 minutes from my house. No baby is worth eggplant parm, ick.)
  • you try to convince yourself that the last contraction was surely longer than 10 seconds
  • you pray every day for the health of your baby, knowing how blessed you are to have come this far
  • you pray every day for the patience to wait for the day that God has always known your baby would be born
  • you pray that the day God has decided your child would be born is not your brother's wedding day
  • you pray you will not have to stay in the hospital longer waiting on a name to put on the birth certificate
  • you say thank you to God with every kick and movement you feel, knowing baby is still okay
  • you refuse to look at the scale at the doctor's office and threaten the tech with bodily harm for any numbers announced, faces made or grunts expelled.
  • you are very tired of going to the doctor
  • you wonder "how low can you go"
  • you know that a tiny piece of the joy of meeting baby is because this means heartburn goes away and there get to be longer intervals between potty breaks
  • you know that another piece of that joy comes from being able to drink a whole beer (not just sneaking sips when  Katie  pregnancy police are not watching.
  • you will endure most anything to yet again be able to sleep on your stomach
  • you envision a tiny baby, with knees pulled under it's tummy, resting on your stomach, and smile big!
  • you pray, every, single, solitary, night in simple and complete thanksgiving.
Now Baby Ninness- let's get this party started!!! Mom and Dad are sooo ready to meet you (and sooo over being pregnant :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Dad He Didn't Have to Be

Brad Paisley sings a beautiful song called "He didn't have to be". The refrain is Lookin' back all I can say
about all the things he did for me. Is I hope I'm at least half the dad that he didn't have to be.

I heard this song not long after I discovered that my very own dad did not 'have to be' the dad he was to me. In a traumatic time when everything I knew to be true about my life seemed untrue, I was comforted by one thing- that sweet Pat Sullivan chose to be my father. He picked me, decided to love me, and became my daddy before I was born. I will always be in awe of the choice he made at such a young, tender age of 21. He found a girl who was going to have a baby and he let his heart fall in love with both of them, against all better judgement I'm sure. And this father's day, I am thankful, not just for him, but for the other dad's who "didn't have to be."

I am thankful for my Uncle Philip, who chose to follow his heart and his wife's heart and God's call to the Ukraine and bring home a little girl whose smile lights up the sky. He did not have to be her daddy- but he chose her. And she is so, so lucky.

I am thankful for our spiritual fathers, our priests and ministers who guide us to our heavenly Father. I am especially thankful for Fr. Tim, who, in both the darkest and brightest moments of my life, has been a reminder of Christ's love, protection and forgiveness. He emits God's love, everyday, in so many ways and this 'daughter' is so thankful.

I am thankful for my father-in-law. He could have chosen to simply be 'an in-law' to me, a part of my extended family. But from the moment he hugged me first, he treated me like a daughter. He teased me like a daughter, nurtured me like a daughter and loved me like a daughter. He didn't have to be a father to me, but he is. And I am thankful.

I am thankful for the father that my husband already is. At night, when we pray, he often speaks near my stomach and I am not kidding you that this babe moves already to the sound of his/her daddy's prayers. I am thankful that he is a daddy who prays. I am thankful also that he is a daddy who cooks and cleans. But mostly I am thankful that he is a daddy who loves his child and his child's mama so well.

And finally, I am thankful for the ultimate dad 'who didn't have to be.' Because, see, Jesus did not have to be our heavenly dad. He did not have to endure condemnation and hatred and torture for us. But He chose to. Because He LOVES us. And to this day, he suffers the same way our dads do. Like them, he watches us make bone-head mistakes. He watches us hurt and suffer. He suffers with us, hurting along side us. Like our earthly dads do too, He rejoices with us in our happiness and prays for our peace and joy.

None of the dads above "had" to be a dad. Sadly, we all know men who could not or would not accept their role as a father. We all know people who have wounds from their earthly dads, pains inflicted upon them from neglect or indifference or abuse or apathy or rejection. But after a sweet father's day weekend, I can see the fathers in my life and be so, so thankful for being the dads 'they didn't have to be.'

Friday, June 18, 2010

Showered with love

I will add more photos as soon as my sister gets off her rump and emails them to me soon as I can but for now, something happy to follow the not so happy as of late. Want to feel like the most blessed woman in the world? Have 18 ladies drive to the boondocks to celebrate your child. It is a joy you can't imagine. It was also humbling because most of these same people were in that same house less than a year ago to celebrate a wedding shower, yet still choose to celebrate with us again. Let's just say that some special gals have major payback coming their way, or at least great Christmas gifts!

To the sweet women in my life- those who could come and those who couldn't, thank you for making me know that my child is already loved. I can't really describe the feeling. And to Rae Ann, who repeatedly opens her home and cleans her bathrooms to celebrate the goings on in her little brother's life, thank you. You are such a beautiful and gracious hostess- and one heck of a cook!

Lisa and Elizabeth- two of the cutest new mamas I know

Aunt Katie, Space, Weschler and Blair. Thanks to Space and Weschler for driving 2-3 hours to be here and to Blair and Weschler for making it twice in 9 months!!

Baby photos! Congrats to Elizabeth for getting them all right!

Thanks to mom and Katie for making the trek from Savannah for the 40th time this spring!

One small peek at Rae Ann's home and we know who gets the honor of hosting all Ninness family functions in Atlanta!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It is okay.

I say that with a heavy heart and a tear stained face. I promise that hell or high water I will come back soon with some lighter material. But this is life. It is both joyfully simple and painfully complex. It is full of both easy smiles and breaking hearts. Today, I will say that my heart is a little more on the breaking side. But that's okay. Mercifully, gracefully, there is a warmth wrapping around me that tells me someone has control of it all.

B just died. It took him about 20 hours of labored breathing. I hope the morphine worked. His mama and brother were by his side. I stood outside the room watching the monitor, secretly hoping it was wrong, willing the lines to show a stronger heartbeat, any heartbeat that couldn't be explained by a reflex. But it wasn't to be. And that's okay. The world is so certainly emptier without that big, booming personality in it. I am a tiny bit emptier without the joy of that guy's smile gracing my Grady days. But it is okay.

Today I learned that one of my closest friends has had a dream put on hold. She is also continuing to deal with hell in her family. I ache for her sadness. I want her to get the peace she so deserves in her family. And I want her to realize her dream of serving in a war-torn country. They need her. She needs them. I need for her to get a reprieve, a pass in the roller coaster that is her particular cross of suffering. But it is okay.

Today I packed a care package for a young family who lost their daddy in Afghanistan. I don't know them. But I know that when my best friend called to tell me that her friend, a dad of 2 with a pregnant wife was killed, my world stopped. I didn't know the family but the sound of my friend's voice that day will haunt me forever. I cry immediately, just thinking of the agony, the terror, the raw pain in her voice that day. I am ridiculous thinking that my stupid package will do anything for this family, but I need that mama to know that I think of her. On the days when she is breaking up fights between her boys and changing diapers and so desperately needs her teammate, I hurt for her. I pray for her. It is okay.

Today (it's been a helluva day) I found out someone else I don't know lost their son, a young marine. I wish there were more degrees of separation between this person and I but the connection is likely very close. I can't go into it further here but I am sad that this kid died. I am sad for his father. And, honestly, I'm sad for myself. But it is okay.

I have warm, almost comforting tears slowly streaming down my face. They are filled with sadness for people I know, for people I don't know, for myself.  But they are warm too, reassuring. Because all day, every minute of this ridiculous day, I have known that I am wrapped up in the strongest arms that ever were. I feel so safe, so okay.  I know that every day of B's life was planned and orchestrated by God. I know that my friend's family is being refined every day and that her turn at joy is quickly coming. I know that 3 little babies who miss their daddy have good days now too and that somehow, they will endure this awful time. I know that God was there during every decision that shaped my life and that He will continue to be there every day as I come to terms with how those decisions affected so many. It really is okay. It is joyfully and mercifully and blessedly OKAY!!!

Tonight I will go to the river with my dog and my husband and my baby and say a rosary along the bank. Hopefully I'll get a breeze in this crazy heat but I kno that with every Hail Mary, every movement of my fingers over those beads, I will be even more assured that we are all, truly, truly okay.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The last year of B's life

has been marked by chronic diarrhea. He has chills because he weighs less than one hundred pounds. He is 41 years old but looks 14 years old. His voice is very deep and masculine but he struggles to talk because it just takes too much energy. He rings the call button for a nurse to come help change his diaper. I go outside because the nurse is taking awhile. The male nurse tells me, 'he calls all the time. I can't go every time he calls.' I calmly reassure the nurse that I know he is busy but this young man should not have to sit in his feces all day either. And he has diarrhea all. day. long. The nurse becomes angry and storms off. I ask another nurse who is more patient to please ensure B gets changed. I call B 30 minutes later. He has not been changed. The humiliation in his voice is palpaple. "Don't come down here Keri, it's bad." I tell him I won't come but I ask his permission to report his nurse. He agrees, "only because he did this last time too." I tell him that if he gets one bit of harshness or aggressivness from the nurse, he needs to call me. He agrees.

Two days later I tell B he has to go to a nursing home if we ever have any hope of getting his diarrhea under control. He drops two, huge, crocodile tears. He asks me if it's all "old people" there. I tell him, no. Sadly some of the guys there are like him, young, trying to recover from the latest assault on their bodies by AIDS. He begs me to let him stay in the hospital for the 3 month course of IV antibiotics. I tell him he cannot. I am honest. First, he could get a hospital acquired infection and get worse. Secondly, insurance won't pay. He has to go. He is angry with me. I have known him for 4 years and he has never been angry. He yells at me to get out.

I get a voicemail with an apology from B. He says he is tired of nurses wiping his rear end. He is tired of nurses catheterizing him. He is tired of trying to change his own diaper, only to make more of a mess. He is tired of his mother helping change him. He is tired of the sounds of the hospital intercoms keeping him awake at night. He is tired of his IV bag beeping that it is finished, often 20 minutes, 30 minutes before any nurse is able to come turn it off. He is tired of watching his friends go to summer cookouts and celebrations while he lays in a hospital bed. He is tired of seeing the astonished faces of people who come in and see every bone in his body protruding. He is tired of the ulcers forming on his buttocks, constantly infected by his bowels. He is tired of being too tired to talk or hug a friend. He is just "so damned tired of AIDS."

Today I see B's name on the census. I count back the days and realize he should be nearing completion of his antiobiotics at the nursing home and should be going home soon. I pray that this is something quick and easy and he is finally able to go home. I get greedy and ask that he not have diarrhea this time, that he not be in pain. I got one wish, he is not in pain. He is on a ventilator, sedated. His lungs are full of pneumonia. He is septic. His primary care doctor is on the consult team this month. He is cussing as he goes through his chart, looking for any medication that he can change to save B. He has lost more weight. He weighs 84 lbs. He is 5'8. I talk to his mama. She says "Keri, make him DNR. Do not let them recussitate my son. Enough is enough. I will not put him through more." I want to agree with her. I do, clinically speaking. But I tell her that his doctor, who B loves, is really searching for something we can do. But if she doesn't want to do it, I will set up hospice. I walk away, saying a prayer that God takes B tonight. Please don't let him have to endure another person having to clean the ulcers that now cover his behind.

I walk down the hallway and take a deep breath. I feel my baby move, forcing me to smile. I smile, thinking of all the bad jokes B has told me, some of them so inappropriate. I think of his previously gorgeous curly hair, sad that we had to shave it. I think of him telling me that "as soon as I can stand up without s***ing, I am taking you dancing. I think of him telling me to sit down- that my husband will not think I'm attractive with fat ankles. I think of him telling me to stop wasting time with him and to go give my baby a doughnut. I smile at these things but then I slow down and think about AIDS. It's so easy to become desensitized to this disease. But today I'm a little pissed off.

I hate that in the past week I have looked into the eyes of a 16-year-old who first had to endure a violent rape, only to be raped over and over and over again by the horrors of HIV. I hate that she will not see her child grow up. I hate that there is a baby in the NICU without a mother. I hate that there is a mother in the waiting room preparing to lose her "baby boy". I hate that B's last years of life were tainted by the indignities of wearing a diaper and having to be constantly changed, all while his 41-year-old brain was young and ready to enjoy life. I hate that this disease so often means awful intrusions into the most personal parts of victim's lives, bodies, souls. I hate HIV. I hate AIDS.

Tomorrow I come in and check the census. I will see if B made it through the night. And tonight, I will pray about the hope that does, really does exist for my patients. Maybe I'll come back and write about that. But for now, we need to remember the absolute horror that this disease is and pray with all our hearts for the people who endure it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Even playing field?

Today I got to hold a baby. She is 34 weeks old. Her mama just died of complications from HIV. Her mama was my patient and died just after they did an emergency c-section to save the baby. I found every excuse in the book to go see the baby in the NICU and today got to hold her. She is 3lbs and we don't know if she has HIV yet or not. For having had no pre-natal care and for being carried by a very, very sick mama, she is doing well. I held her and whispered prayers to the heavens for her. I prayed that soon DFCS would find someone in her family qualified to raise her. I prayed that she did not contract her mama's virus. I prayed that she feels the love of the nurses and doctors and stalking social workers around her. I prayed that she has no major illnesses from her scary entrance to the world and that somehow she is given opportunities in her life. I prayed that somewhere along the way, the playing field evens out for her.

I followed her visit with a visit to a 16-year-old. I don't usually see pediatric patients but was asked to see her. She was raped 4 years ago (do the math, age 12) by her older sister's boyfriend. Boyfriend got 20 years. My patient got HIV. Not likely that either of them will see 20 years. Before the rape, little girl was an honor student at a charter school. Now she is 16, on 24 pills a day, and just had a baby. She is not on welfare (medicaid doesn't count) and is working to support her baby. She told me that she has been scared every day since the rape and stayed with a boyfriend so he would protect her. God bless him, he is still with her and trying to protect her, but now they have a baby. Little girl (mom, not baby) is smart and took every precaution once she found out she was pregnant. Baby should be fine.

I have no intention of starting a political or social discussion. I want to respect both patients and their stories. I can't talk to the baby's mama in the first story anymore. And the next patient is so open about her mistakes and wrong turns. She is humble and apologetic. I held her hand and asked her not to apologize to me. I told her that I'm glad she's looking at where she went wrong because it will help her make better decisions going forward. I didn't say it to her but I thought, this playing field is not even close to being even.

It does her no good, nor it will do the baby above any good to focus on the terrible unevennness of their playing fields. But the next time I hear the phrase, "pull yourself up from your boot straps" I might kill someone. These two little girls don't have boot straps to pull up.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'  Matthew 25

Saturday, June 5, 2010

If we go missing...

I'd start the search here

Last weekend I panicked. I realized that between work schedules and individual weekend commitments, we had ONE weekend left as a family of 2 + pup. And I had five days to plan it. Nevermind that it was memorial day weekend and rates at places were high and I am cheap as all heck. I had a sudden feeling of claustrophobia, knowing that my chances to leave the big city with my two favorite guys were close to gone. So, I pulled out the big guns. I used facebook. And my husband has admitted that he will never again tease my facebook usage and is very grateful for the resource that it is. Thanks to my handy travel agent, and to my old Grady friend Clarissa who was on facebook at just the right time, we found what could quickly become our new getaway (or home if we won the lottery!!) So, sit back, grab a glass of tea, and get acquainted with Hayesville, North Carolina.

Just two hours north of Atlanta, in tiny Hayesville NC, lies a town that has everything we could ever want or need. An old co-worker and friend, Clarissa, recently moved back there and works here.  For $35.00 a night, we stayed in a precious, secluded cottage complete with rocking chairs on the porch. The pup was welcomed, and as some of the only guests on this acres large property, he enjoyed uninhibited exploration of the great outdoors. And explore he (and we) did.

We started Saturday morning with one of those precious mom and pop restaurants, complete with a ridiculously inexpensive breakfast buffet, washed down by illegally sweet tea. That gave mom and babe the energy needed for a short hike. We discovered that our dog who we have never seen swim, actually enjoyed playing in the water and splashing around. He was so happy I didn't even worry about wet doggie smell in my car! Pretty soon my need to sit came in quicker intervals so we headed out. R wanted to take the dog on a more strenuous hike elsewhere and agreed to stop by downtown Hayesville to let me shop look around. It turns out that this adorable town was having their Memorial Day commemoration. I was so, so happy we left the trail and got to experience this beautiful service. We sang the National Anthem and God Bless America with our new mountain town friends and prayed with them for fallen soldiers and soldiers serving now. I cried on Ross's shoulder, missing my dad and praying in thanksgiving for his safety and Patrick's safe return home. I smiled at old ladies waving flags and kids in red, white, and blue. I followed my husband around as he talked to retired marines and played with guns. I walked my pup and let him chase the smell of bar-b-que. I bought a handmade ring to replace my too small wedding bands and to stop looking like an unwed mother in a small town. I drank another glass of illegally sweet tea, tasted homemade margarita jelly (HOLY COW!)  and enjoyed the beauty that is a small town square.

And then I had mercy on my husband and agreed it was time for him to hit the trails and for me to set up camp on the lake. He hiked. I read a book, cover to cover, only stopping to wade in the water and stare at the mountains. The only disruption to my hours of silence and peace was a family coming to fish. And as quickly as I lamented the end of my quiet, I smiled, hearing the pure joy of little boys splashing in the cold lake. How can you get annoyed at the sounds, albeit loud ones, of innocence and fun?  I was then happily reunited with my guys after a few hours alone and was elated to see that they brought sustenance (Mike and Ike's and cold water). Ross and I played cards on the edge of the lake and scolded our puppy for darting off to steal the macaroni and cheese from the picnicing family (again, precious people in this town. they not only laughed at his choice of mac and cheese but offered him (not preggo mama) a burger! ) We swam in the lake and soaked in pure, blissful nature. I layed on my blanket and took in the beauty in front of me, thankful for facebook re-connections and just maybe a little bit of the Holy Spirit's guidance in finding the perfect getaway.


We finished our perfect day the way we would prefer to finish any perfect day, and headed up the road for authentic Mexican food. The bump festively outfitted in a sundress, bronzed skin and a perfect patio seat and maybe a teeny, tiny sip of my husband's ginormous margarita made for a delicious meal. And no small town dinner would be complete without running into someone who knows your name. As we were leaving, I saw the most handsome little cowboy I have ever seen and his mama, my friend Clarissa, the orchestrator of this perfect weekend. I hugged her neck, not knowing how to convey how much I loved her new hometown. And then came the reaaal perfect ending to the day, when my husband, NOT miss sweet tooth here, suggested and old fashioned ice cream parlor. Insert lyrics to Elvis's "I can't help falling in love with you..."
With antique juke boxes, 1950's coca cola memorabilia and kids checkers games set up, we chose our ice cream (mint chocolate chip, thinking of my bff) and sat on the porch. In rocking chairs, of course.

Sunday we made our way to church, as all good small town southerners do and I was as amazed by this community as I was by the mountains. Before Mass started, there was a welcome statement. I am glad I remembered to write some of it down because I don't want to forget it.

"If you are lonely or depressed today, you belong here, you belong to us. Because Christ is here and you belong to Christ. If you are laid off and struggling to make ends meet for your family, you belong here, you belong to us. Because Christ is here and you belong to Christ. If you are divorced, single, gay, lesbian, struggling in your marriage, you belong here, you belong to us. Because Christ is here and you belong to Christ. If you are a visitor or someone just passing through, you belong here...If you are heartbroken or full of love, you belong here...if you are searching for answers about God or a lifetime follower, you belong here..."

She continued on for awhile and with each statement, she made me so happy we found ourselves at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Hayesville, NC. The priest was precious (see pic below- as kind as he looks!) making us all laugh as he welcomed us to the wrong church! (for us Atlantans, this priest has two parishes 40 miles away from each other- pray for vocations!!) Anyway- the chance to hear a new voice, in such a welcoming community, to worship and receive the Eucharist, well, it was the icing on the cake to a great weekend. Actually, the real icing on the cake was the doughnuts in the parish hall and the fair trade sale that let me shop with a purpose (as in husband can't complain) , whilst eating doughnuts. I mean, hello heaven, nice to see you!!

**Praying for Fr. Kloster and both his parishes of Immaculate Heart of Mary and St.Williams. When we move to NC, we will be seeing you!! Thanks for the doughnuts!  **

After Mass (also after a dead car battery, a terrible thunderstorm, and some slightly too heavy local food-gotta keep it real here ) I got to watch my husband, happy as a clam, drive a boat around a gorgeous lake, looking at the gorgeous homes we want to buy, amidst the gorgeous Appalachain mountains. I was cold but he was happy and then I was happy.

So, if you are still reading, consider this precious town and that amazing retreat center as a budget friendly hide-a-way. And if you are up there and someone starts talking about needing an energetic 30 something year old to do some consulting/process improvement for their businesses, give them our number. Adorable, small town comraderie, indescribable scenery, a vibrant faith community, great Mexican food and rocking chairs every half mile- you'd only have to twist one thumb to have me moving to such a special place.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No buns in the oven in previous post (besides mine!)

From the last post, I am the only one pregnant. It was just fun to imply that either the single girl or the girl with very young child is pregnant. I have been sweetly informed by fabulous friend Ashley that my sarcasm did not translate. Ooops :)